February 26, 2021

Balanced Celtics dismantle Raptors in Game 1

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Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart scored 21 points apiece to lift the Boston Celtics to a 112-94 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday in the opener of their Eastern Conference semi-final series.

Game leaders

Boston Celtics

  • Points: Tatum/Smart – 21
  • Assists: Kemba Walker – 10
  • Rebounds: Daniel Theis – 15

Toronto Raptors

  • Points: Kyle Lowry – 17
  • Assists: Lowry/VanVleet – 8
  • Rebounds: Serge Ibaka – 9

Kemba Walker had 18 points, Jaylen Brown 17, Daniel Theis 13 and Robert Williams III 10 as the Celtics won their fifth straight game to open the playoffs. Theis and Walker added game highs of 15 rebounds and 10 assists, respectively.

Kyle Lowry had 17 points and Serge Ibaka added 15 for the Raptors, who saw their eight-game winning streak come to a halt.

Jayson Tatum and OG Anunoby compete for a rebound
Image: Tatum and OG Anunoby compete for a rebound

Toronto shot 31-of-84 (36.9 per cent) from the field and 10-of-40 (25.0 per cent) from three-point range. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet combined to go 8-of-32 for 24 points.

Game 1 of the seven-game series had originally been scheduled for Thursday before player protests related to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin pushed back the NBA schedule.

The Celtics never trailed in Game 1, taking advantage of a sluggish start by the Raptors to lead by 19 points during the opening quarter. Toronto had 11 fouls in the period, with Siakam sitting early after recording three. Boston led 39-23 after one.

The Raptors got back within single digits, 39-30, early in the second, but the Celtics used a 15-7 run – capped by a Tatum three-point play – to restore order.

More on this story

Kemba Walker celebrates a play during the Celtics' Game 1 win over the Raptors 0:25
Kemba Walker beat the half-time buzzer with a three-pointer in Boston’s Game 1 blowout win over the Toronto Raptors in their Eastern Conference semi-final series

A buzzer-beating three-pointer from Walker had Boston up 59-42 at the break.

Walker, Brown, Tatum and Smart were each in double digits in scoring at half-time. Meanwhile, Siakam and VanVleet had a combined five points.

Boston’s advantage reached 21 at 65-44 following back-to-back three-pointers from Brown and Walker early in the third. The Raptors had momentum going with a 10-2 run late, but Tatum nailed a stepback jumper as time expired to give the Celtics an 88-73 lead going into the fourth.

Boston went up 100-79 with 6:26 left and led by 24 points down the stretch.

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